eWEEKChat Aug. 12: Social Networks: How They Help or Hinder Enterprises

On Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its monthly #eWEEKChat. Join us if you can.

On Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be "Social Networks: How They Can Help or Hinder Enterprises." It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, who serves as eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: Social Networks: How They Can Help or Hinder Enterprises

Date/time: Aug. 12, 2015 @11a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT

Hosted by: @eWEEKNews

Moderator: Chris Preimesberger: @editingwhiz

Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate or use the widget below

Chatroom real-time links: We have two: http://tweetchat.com/room/eweekchat or http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat. Both work very well. These are the best way to follow the commentary.

Everybody's Had to Go Social or Else Get Left Behind

When does social network interaction help a company, and when can it hurt? On the "pro" side are all the things one might expect: improved overall visibility for the company, opportunities for direct promotion of products and services, a good way to interact with the general public who are potential customers, and so on.

On the "con" side: Look at what Web services like Yelp can do; if a troll or trolls go online and start bad-mouthing your company for whatever reason, those fires are often hard to put out. Rants by people on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites can be real headaches. There are some regulatory issues to consider, also.

eWEEK's Robert Lemos reported on this back in May: A 12-month study of the social media pages of Fortune 100 companies found an average of 69 probable violations of U.S. regulatory standards, more than 80 percent affecting financial firms, according to a report published by security provider Proofpoint.

The report, State of Social Media Infrastructure, Part III, found that the average company in the Fortune 100 had 320 different social media accounts accessed by more than 1,150 employees. Consumer comments on companies' social media pages, from fraud complaints to complaints about drug side effects, accounted for the lion's share of violations, an average of 57, while posts to corporate-branded social media pages by employees accounted for only 12 potential violations, the report said.

The rapid adoption of social media and the difficulty in managing the platform mean that some violations inevitably get published online, Michael Lee, director of social media solutions for Proofpoint's Nexgate group, told eWEEK.

"It is a very new, but much more complex communications channel," he said. "What makes it great—the frictionless creation of the voice of the company—also poses a danger."

On average, Fortune 100 firms have to triage a half million messages in a year, posted by 1,159 employees and 213,000 commenters, according to the research. While many social media marketing platforms allow companies to streamline the workflow and authorization of posts to branded corporate sites, they cannot automate the compliance checking of posts and comments. That remains a job for people.

"Yes, there are content publishing tools and applications that they can use to help their employees do a better job," Lee said. "Employees, however, will often go around them."

This, in part, is why most companies now have a director of social networking in place as part of the marketing and communications staff. Some larger companies, such as Dell, EMC and others, have dozens of staff people monitoring the networks night and day, empowered to intercept unhappy campers and try to salve whatever wound about which they may be complaining.

In our eWEEKchat Aug. 12, we will pose questions such as:

--How is your company using social networks for business advantage?

--Does your company regulate employees' interaction when it comes to the business -- whether or not the interactions happen on work time?

--Name one big win from your company's involvement in social networks.

--Name one major problem situation that emanated from a social network involvement.

--Does your company have an internal social network for group interaction and project meetups -- and does it work for you?

Join us. It will be 60 minutes well worth your while.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...